February 26th, 2008
03:58 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: Clinton has a fine line to walk

 Clinton has a tough task in tonight's debate.

Clinton has a tough task in tonight's debate.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - There’s one week to go before the voters speak in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island - and a lot can happen in one week. The undecided Democratic voters still have plenty of time to study the candidates and the issues before making up their minds. And those who have made up their minds are certainly capable of changing their opinions. This will be an exciting week for all of us.

One thing I have noticed over these past several weeks is that Democrats across the country are truly energized by this campaign. They are turning out to vote in huge numbers. I suspect this will be the case in the four upcoming states.

Clinton’s supporters are passionate; so are Barack Obama’s supporters. These Democrats are also itching to start the general campaign, presumably against John McCain.

That helps explain why Hillary Clinton’s strategy in trying to win the March 4 contests is so complicated. After 11 losses in a row, she is trying to catch up. In the process, she has to walk a fine line.

A lot of Democrats say they are turned off by her tough rhetoric, especially in comparing Obama’s inexperience in foreign policy to George W. Bush’s inexperience when he took office more than seven years ago. I have heard from several of her own long-time supporters over the past 24 hours that they don’t like her slamming him and effectively providing McCain with ammunition should Obama capture the party’s nomination - they don’t want her words thrown back at Obama by McCain and his team during the general election.

Clinton is understandably trying to differentiate herself from Obama, looking to highlight differences that are important to Democratic voters out there. That is, of course, what all candidates try to do during elections. But it’s not easy to do this without turning off the Democratic base is not easy.

- CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (217 Responses)
  1. Joyce


    Hillary has compared Obama,s inexperience to that of Bush and she is correct in doing so. Just think of the answer he gave regarding the
    Rezho real estate deal, "I made a boneheaded mistake". Chicago's papers have question him on this and it speaks to his judgement.
    He claims to be right on day one so it is proper to point put that he has made serious mistakes. The Media totally ignores anything that is remotely negative regarding their annointed King. All i can say is that we were here before BUSH. I remember the media annointing him too. I remember finding all kind of negative and true stories about him on the internet and saying why is this not reported to us?
    I remeber the media just accepting whatever the bush machine spouted and BLINDLY following him to war.
    No indeed Obama has PLENTY of baggage. Hillary has not used that
    I found it- so could she. Some of the article have been in Chicago's papers. LOOK, be a real reporter and report the whole truth- from BOTH SIDES. Look also at Michelle and her Hospital Board dealings,
    look and wake up. As the Chicago newspaper said his talk does not match his rhetoric. He does not represent CHANGE.
    If Obama gets the nomination I will vote for John McCain. At least he has served in the military.

    February 26, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. John

    But it’s not easy to do this without turning off the Democratic base is not easy.

    Please correct that if it is a typo error.

    February 26, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. Eric

    She is doing what she should have done from day one. AT this point the blowback is understood.

    February 26, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. Pat Adair

    Hillary would not have such a fine line if the media would report on other things besides something against her. It is obvious that the media are for the other person.
    It was even stated that something that happened 28 days ago still are daily stated to attempt to make Hillary look bad. This is the same type of media attention that Bill and Hillary have endured before. They are strong people and that is what this country needs.

    George Washington is the Father of our nation and Hillary Clinton very well could be the Mother of our country.

    February 26, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  5. Raymond Ito

    Hillary's type of politics in my opinion is "Gone With The Wind" – which is precisely being blown to whatever direction without a specific goal. One moment is "I am honored to be here with Barack Obama," a few days later is: "Shame on you Barack Obama."! McCain is considered to be hyper-temperamental but considering Hillary's roller-coaster temperament, can these two candidates be entrusted with a nuclear button?

    She's been the one always attacking Obama but when the facts are put out to the voters to see, she blows her cool! Yes, she has a fine line to walk because she put herself in an impossible corner. Whichever way she treads, voters are increasingly turned off.

    February 26, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Jennifer

    who cares!!!!!!!!!

    February 26, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Dave

    Wolf, Cafferty just Proved what so many People are trying to get across on the CNN Blogs. 1 out of 5 emails read by Cafferty, was to Bash Clinton! He has just proven to every American watching how bias CNN has been toward Clinton! CNN is been totally unfair to Clinton during this entire Election process! Why ask the question that Media is being bias when you have been giving the answer for months.

    February 26, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. clara

    i am sick and tired of you all putting oboma on a petastool he isn't god i'm a democorate but i will not vote oboma hillary all the way here in ky.

    February 26, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. MD Democrat

    I hate to say it, but it is all a result of how smart the republican party is on dominating a campaign. I beleive that they have spent a lot of money and energy on the Obama campaign so that the republican party will actually have a chance to get in the white house again. Also, they have managed to divide the democratic party on the factor of race. I believe that the majority of african-american voters are voting for Obama solely because of the color of his skin. Yet, he couldn't take the time to attend the State of the Black Union event. They (Reps) support him now so that in the general election they can rally behind their candidate and beat Obama if he becomes the nominee. Whether or not Clinton haters want to admit it, the Republicans would have a much harder time beating Clinton than Obama.

    It continues to amaze me how the media keeps talking about how Hillary's saying negative things about Obama, yet they continue to brush over Obama's sneaky little negative comments about Hillary. He's the type of person that takes a swipe at someone and then pretends that he's done no wrong if there's retalliation. To my recollection, this all started with his wife's comment about Hiilary keeping her own house in order. That was a real cheap shot and the Obama campaign got away with it. Obama is full of it! He's playing just as dirty as the republicans did during the last presidential campaign–takes a shot at his opponent and then says "let's play nice".

    February 26, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. Dick Pittenger

    In her book, Hillary touts NAFTA as one of the most significant accomplishments of her husband's administrations. Now she seeks to back away from it. Bill Clinton never challenged the immoral Reagan Tax Cuts which shifted $Trillions of $ from the shoulders of the rich; instead balancing the budget by buying into Newt Gingrich's Contract With America. Hillary never challenged the Reagan cuts, either. It is time for the Democratic Party to genuinely become the Party of the People again, not another Party of the Rich, along with the GOP!

    February 26, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  11. Mary True

    I actually think that Wolf Blitzer is the voice of reason on CNN. He at least is able to present both sides off the Clinton/Obama story without going rabid/ballistic. These two people are basically good and honest persons. Hillary Clinton in my opinion is more deserving and better equipped to serve as our next President. I am made a little sick by some of the comments written in the blogs about her. She has devoted a long time and suffered quite abit in serving the American People in public service. She is the person who faced public scrutiny before seasoned Congressmen to first offer a Universal Health Care plan. Our country should be able to take good care of the ill and the elderly without all this furor amidst those who have. I really think men are not voting for her because she is a woman. Barak Obama would be a slam dunk for a more informed and knowledgible President in about 8 years or so. Mary True

    February 26, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  12. gene

    There has to be some way to get to the network heads. I just heard Caffrety's remarks to you about Hillary Clinton. They were outrageous. This lady has done nothing but devote her life to to try to make this an even better nation. Go to his Cafferty file and read his hatred remarks. I blame you as well, you have condoned and published his horrible remarks. You have lost a viewer. I hope that there is more out there like me.

    February 26, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. Benn Matt, Austin TX.

    I am more energetic than ever before only for one reason that is after all the dissapointments that we had from our leaders finally we have been lucky to have someone like Obama to believe in him again so he can bring us together and repair the USA' s image around the world so that we can go anywhere for holiday without a fear to get killed or kidnapped. Wolf, I am a great fan of yours and I have been watching CNN especially your shows "Situation Room and Late Edition" which they are my favorite programs, never missed a single program for more than 4 years now. But pardon me to say this since iowa caucus and i became little bit suspecious about you of being one side in these primairies elections, on Clinton's side. I don't wanna be too critical about you because I have a lot of respects for you and see you as an example to follow when is come to the journalism. Please do not force me to turn away from my favourite Network CNN for being a pro Clintons camp. I know you have been trying to stay neutral as you can in this election but we do need two things from you: transparent and fairness. These are the issues which I tried to raise to you to take in consideration in order to keep me to continue to watch cnn at the time when so many others have simply decided not watch cnn anymore by considering CNN as Clinton News Network i am refering to my friends who have been urging me not watch cnn. I decided to do the opposite by letting you know what i do feel personally about the whole issue of transparenty in news reporting. Thank you for taking the time to read this. And I do appologize in advance for any word it may upset you.

    February 26, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. Matt

    Hillary is a great candidate but not this year. Barack has captured what the American people NEED – ie a person who can reunite the heart and soul of what this country stands for past, present and, most importantly, future. If we can not unite as a country, we begin to marinalize our own existence. Like or not, we start to minimize our potential impact on the world scene. As an expat American (for the past 12 years), I have seen the power of America both for good and for bad.

    Bill Clinton made me proud that America understood the issue of the world – from free trade to AIDS – and accepted a role in impacting positive change. George Bush has reminded me (and, I think, the world) of how destructive a powerful country can be in the negative. This is not a dem or a rep issue but an issue of what is right or wrong and what a "super-power" can and should be.

    We now have an opportunity to reclaim what we stand for as Americans and roll back the destruction of our values – arrest without charge, wire taps, politics by fear, etc., and move our country and its place in the world.

    Now is our time....may be our last chance....please capture the opportunity and make it happen.

    February 26, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  15. Shannon McMurphy

    You ask if Obama has been given a "free ride" by the press.

    To answer this, let's bring in our "Pro-Bama" puppies, who slavishly follow his campaign, better known as your "senior political analysts".

    You can answer your own question, if you dare to.

    February 26, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  16. Mike

    The interesting thing is that Obama parrots all his answers after Hillary and his supporters think he came up with it. He is the copy and Hillary is the original.

    Obama talks about shortages of military, this and that but he voted against these actions. He panders to all sides with hype and speeches. We need Hillary to get in the white house and fix the real issues. Obama will be confused and make a mess since he wont have his speech writers and Hillary to help him.

    Did Obama take care of the Illinois shooting victims?

    Did he come to talk at the State of the Black Union? His wife was supposed to go? She couldnt find a baby-sitter? She made it to Houston to campaign though where the primary is. Four hour drive away is the New Orleans. But then again it is not the Louisiana primary is it?

    People dont see this about Obama?

    February 26, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. Jens Poulsen

    The world needs a change, and Barrack Obama represents this change. It is frustrating to watch Hillary Clinton using all dirty tricks in the book, because in her loosing the nomination she is harming the Democratic Party with her more and more uncontrolled attacks on Senator Obama. I do hope that Clinton will step out of the race when the voters in the up coming election have spoken. The President of the United States of America is also our leader in the free world. I pray that Senator Obama will succeed all the way – he is a true leader and is inspiring far beyond US borders.
    Jens Poulsen, Denmark

    February 26, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  18. A HARD LEFT!!!!!

    A tough job indeed. I just cant wait till its all over. i'm so sick of reading so many slurs towards both canadates i just want evryone to get it all out.!!!! all the racism.sexism.and the conspiracy theories towards the media. If there's one thing this election has taught me so far is that it has moved people together in ways that in my 32 yrs. that i thought was never be possible. It has also highlighted the fears of many people, people who all have their own idea of what change means.Well whatever change may come at least i have the ironic pleasure in knowing that when that day comes and the smoke clears and all our candates guns fall to thier waist sides that their will be someone,somewhere, out there who still fee s that somehow their voice made the defference.

    February 26, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. Chicano Art, DON'T HATE

    I respect your objectivity, Wolf, but I feel that the fine line she has had to walk is with the press, not the voters. Hillary has tried so many attacks against Obama, hoping the press picks up on one of them. While they have a duty to report what is being said they have also decided to pepper the news with their own opinion, usally in favor of Obama. In so called fair discussions that are on the news their is usally two or three analyse in favor of Obama. Could you try to find somebody from the Clinton camp willing to say that they are doing a good job, without then telling them they live in an alternate universe.
    Universal Health Care is not a status quo position and running negative ads is not change from the norm. I do not believe Obama's fake attempt to claim he is above typical politics.

    February 26, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. milli

    opps wolf

    February 26, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. no obama EVER

    Wolf, you and Anderson are the only decent journalists left on CNN.

    The scary part of Hillary having to walk the fine line is precisely because of the media bias. Most of the media have jumped in to join the obama circus train, sheep included obaaaaamonians.

    If obama gets elected, he will make history, BAD history. Having lived abroad all I can say is that we are a lot more like other countries electing bad presidents. We are not that different really.

    CNN Moderator, please do not can my comment.

    February 26, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. BAISA


    HILARTY 08

    February 26, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. Shannon McMurphy

    You ask if Obama has been given a "free ride" by the press.

    It would be a good question, except then you turn to your "senior political analysts" to answer it...they follow the Obama campaign slavlishly like puppies...you expect a fair answer?

    Of course you don't. There must be millions of e-mails like mine, which will never see the light of day.

    February 26, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  24. Al, Sacramento Ca

    March 4th will decide the next Democratic candidate, it's so close that even you Blitzer is condemning Hillary for putting a fight to the end.

    Bush predicted a GOP win in 2008! Now that's walking a fine line. The Democrats will unite, this primary is at historical proportions, what else did we expect. Two great candidates!

    How smart and united the Democrats are will determine 2008 and not the primary elections.

    Good luck Democrats!!

    February 26, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  25. hms

    So Wolf- Do you have any suggestions on how she should differentiate herself???

    Looks like you and your buddies at CNN will not do that and you don't want her to...for the fear of giving ammunition to Republicans..

    America deserves to know the truth about all candidates...

    February 26, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
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